When classes and presentations are virtual, the responsibility falls on you to get the most out of your experience. Online presentations and virtual classes are never going to be the same as going to a class in-person. But there are things you can do to make virtual lessons impactful and to hold yourself accountable so these remote classes are effective. How you choose to approach this new format can affect your level of success. Let’s walk through some ways to find increased value from online or remote classes.
Do the pre-work and come prepared
If your instructor assigns readings and materials to review in advance, be sure to complete these assignments before each lesson. Instructors may call on students to maintain engagement and it’s helpful if you have come prepared. Additionally, it will make a better use of your time to attend the lessons if you have context in advance. This could reduce your confusion with course content and may even prompt some questions you can bring with you to the presentation and get answers for.
Take notes during the presentation
Many instructors will likely choose to record their virtual classes to make it easier for students who are unable to attend during the scheduled time. Unfortunately, having these sessions recorded can lead to students deciding not to take notes because they can easily access the lecture again at a later time. The trouble is, are you really going to want to sift through hours of recorded lectures down the line in an effort to study? By taking notes during the virtual event, you help to ensure you are focused on the content and you can jot down questions along the way. This will help you leave the class feeling like you got something out of it.
Write down your questions
When attending a virtual presentation, it can be easy to fire away questions in the chat section as the presentation proceeds. The challenge here is that presenters often cannot see the chat at the same time as they are presenting and it could be disruptive to stop and answer each question in the middle of the lesson. Additionally, it may make you more focused on the answer to your question than the remaining content in the lesson. By writing your questions down, it allows you to focus on what comes next and circle back to these questions at the end. For all you know, the instructor could have built the answer to your question into a future part of the presentation.
If you’re unsure of the best approach here, ask your instructor about the best procedure for submitting questions or listen for their instructions at the beginning of the course. It’s common for presenters to break for questions at various points in the presentation.
Avoid side conversations
Although most virtual presentations won’t allow participants to converse with each other verbally, attendees can sometimes get caught in conversations with others in the chat. This can be distracting and shifts your focus away from the lesson. Suddenly, several concepts have been covered and you’ve missed them all. Try to focus on what’s right in front of you and what the presenter is directing your attention to, and then follow up with classmates after.
Follow up with the instructor
If you have questions that don’t get answered during the allotted class time, reach out to your instructor to ask those additional questions by email. Teachers are often glad to answer student questions because it shows that you care about the course material. If your instructor has a teaching assistant, they may be the point of contact for your follow-up questions.